Around the world, marriage is one of the oldest and most universal institutions of all, designed to unite a man and woman into a single household that can bear and raise children. This is still true today, and some parts of the world also recognize and allow same-sex marriages. Same-sex households are often known to adopt children. Meanwhile, the legal end of a marriage, divorce, is also common in some parts of the world such as the United States. Some divorces are more complex and expensive than others, and celebrity divorces are known to become high-profile media events. When two spouses are looking to end their marriage, they may hire divorce attorneys to represent their respective sides, and a divorce attorney may be joined by a child custody attorney, too. Other marriages, typically less complex ones, may call for mediator services rather than divorce attorneys, and some divorcing Americans may prefer that.
Reasons a Marriage May End
Why do Americans get divorced? Today, the divorce rate is just under 50%, quite high by many standards. Whether this is a good or bad thing is a matter of opinion, but studies and statistics have tracked the most common reasons why marriages might end like this. Infidelity is the most common reason for divorce, and this is when one spouse is unfaithful to the other. Finding out that your spouse is seeing someone else can be emotionally traumatic, and it is often a reason for marriage counseling services to be sought out. If the case is too serious for even counseling, then the spouses may end up getting divorced instead.
Drug or alcohol abuse are also common reasons why Americans file for divorce and hire divorce attorney to help them. If a spouse is abusing substances, that person may very well become violent or abusive toward other members of their household, and substance abuse in any case often puts as heavy financial and emotional strain on the entire household. This may be made worse if the spouse’s substance abuse problem causes them to lose their paying job. And even if no drugs or alcohol are being abused, some spouses are known to be violently, verbally, or sexually abusive toward other members of the household, also prompting divorce.
Not all divorces are this intense, however, and even low-intensity divorces are something to take seriously. Rather than due to abuse or infidelity, some Americans get divorced simply because the spouses realize that they have too little personal compatibility, such as widely differing lifestyles or spending habits. Studies suggest that two people who date for three or more years before their engagement are less likely to divorce than a hastily-married couple. Such low-intensity marriages may either call for divorce attorneys or mediators, whatever the spouses feel is most appropriate.
Getting Aid for a Divorce
Many divorces call for the aid of divorce attorneys, and a married person looking to file for divorce may start by looking up local divorce law firms. This person may get consultations with the lawyers who work at a local firm (which may or may not incur a fee), and find a lawyer whose expertise, success rate, and personality are to their liking, and hire them. In some divorce cases, the divorcing spouse may relocate out of the household (probably due to abuse) and live in a new, private residence during the divorce process. This spouse might take their under-18 children with them, and interact with their spouse only through their divorce attorney. Often, the other spouse will hire a divorce attorney of their own.
These lawyers, on behalf of their respective clients, will negotiate in court (or at least litigation) ownership of various assets in the household such as a house, cars or recreational vehicles, money in a bank account, or even jewelry or family heirlooms. If custody of children is an issue, child custody lawyers may be hired to negotiate that too, which may be hotly contested.
In other cases, often for simpler divorces, the two spouses may not need a divorce attorney, and instead find and hire a mediator. These mediators are neutral third parties who can help both spouses come up with productive and fair ideas while negotiating their divorce. Often, this is cheaper and more private than going to court.